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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2011 Mar;176(1):55-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2010.11.010. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Genome-wide RNAi screens in African trypanosomes identify the nifurtimox activator NTR and the eflornithine transporter AAT6.

Author information

1
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.

Abstract

To be effective, therapeutic compounds must typically enter target cells and, in some cases, must be concentrated or modified. Thus, uptake and activation mechanisms often form the basis of selectivity against infectious agents. Loss-of-function screens can be used to identify proteins involved in drug uptake and metabolism and may also identify clinically relevant potential resistance mechanisms. We used a genome-scale RNA interference (RNAi) library to identify loss-of-function resistance mechanisms in bloodstream-form Trypanosoma brucei. Nifurtimox-Eflornithine Combination Therapy (NECT) was recently introduced for Human African Trypanosomiasis and we focus on these drugs here. Screens for resistance to nifurtimox and a related drug, benznidazole, identified loss of nitroreductase (NTR) pro-drug activator function. A screen for resistance to the amino-acid analogue, eflornithine, identified loss of amino-acid transporter (AAT6) function. Our results confirm recent findings and suggest that NTR or AAT6 loss-of-function represent major potential mechanisms of resistance to these drugs. Thus, bloodstream-form T. brucei RNAi libraries present a versatile tool for selective genetic screening and for the rapid identification of drug-activation, uptake and potential resistance mechanisms.

PMID:
21093499
PMCID:
PMC3032052
DOI:
10.1016/j.molbiopara.2010.11.010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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